WASHINGTON — Child tax credits, hearing benefits for those on Medicare, and even investments to limit climate change were all supposed to be issues addressed in the coming days by Congress.
However, as we have been reporting, the Build Back Better bill has stalled with no indication of President Biden being able to get his agenda voted on by Christmas.
So what's the divide. Is it money? Politics? The type of programs?
You are wrong if you thought President Biden's agenda has stalled because of Republicans battling Democrats.
The Build Back Better bill was always written so that it could become law with only Democratic votes since Democrats control the house and the senate.
So what's the divide?
Right now, President Biden hasn’t been able to convince every Democratic senator to be on board, with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia being the most elusive.
Because Manchin’s support is needed, Manchin has as much veto power on this issue as the president.
As far as money, that isn’t the problem.
Both President Biden and Senator Manchin agree spending around $1.7 trillion is okay.
The debate is over how to spend the money and for how long.
President Biden wants the legislation to create and fund everything from capping child care costs to offering medicare hearing coverage to investing in climate change.
The President addresses all of these issues by only funding some programs for a limited time since he can only spend a limited amount of money.
For example, President Biden only funds the expanded child tax credit for one year.
Child care subsidies would last just three years.
Funding for pre-K would expire after six years.
Manchin disagrees with that approach.
Instead of funding a plethora of programs for a couple of years, Democrats should pick one or two and fund them for a decade or so.
If they don’t, he fears benefits could be taken away from Americans by future leaders, or they would contribute to the national debt.
"I think everybody has to choose what we can sustain,” Manchin told reporters this week.
“My grandfather used to say un-managed debt will make a coward out of the decisions you make.”
A big question now is what does president Biden do next?
Officially the White House says negotiations with Senator Manchin and every other Democrat continue over the holidays. Still, the philosophical disagreement won't be an easy one to overcome.